The Mark of Sincere Love

Gary Wilkerson

What does Paul say? “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, ESV).

It was clearly a call to put people above projects. It was a call to put love above accomplishments. It was a call to put schemes in a proper place, outside of the realm of what God intends the church to be.

It wasn’t a call to growth; it was a call to love. It wasn’t a call just to do ministry work; it was a call to realize that the greatest ministry work of all is to love one another and to love those who are lost and without Jesus. It’s not going to be cold-hearted or a just going through the steps type of discipleship. It’s going to be a fire of passion in your heart. It’s going to be the zeal in a heart that has that fire for God.

It’s not going to be ambition. It’s not going to be pressure. It’s going to be Jesus Christ loving you so richly that that love permeates your whole heart and begins to be poured out to other people. These things are the mark of true faith, as Paul wrote to Timothy. “I am reminded of your sincere faith” (2 Timothy 1:5). Our word ‘sincere’ comes from two different Greek words.

One is a word they used in theatre; play acting, putting on a show.  The original word for ‘hypocrite’ was someone who was acting out a role.

The second Greek word in front of it which means ‘none,’ in other words, not an actor. Not putting on a performance. Not trying to look like a disciple but actually being a disciple. Not trying to look religious but actually being spirit-filled. Not trying to do good deeds so others might see them.

If we are actually walking in faith, we will be sincerely loving.

The Dating Game with God

Tim Dilena

If you have a real relationship with God, every day changes. This is why a relationship with Jesus Christ is called ‘being born again.’ We don’t need church just on Sundays. We need God every day. Religion will ask you for one day a week. God will ask you for every day. Religion will say, “Show up on Sundays, and everything will be okay.” That’s not true.

If true transformation is only for Sundays, then we’re in trouble. It’s the other six days that mess us up.

God says, “I want Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday onward. I want to walk with you. I don’t want a relationship with you where you see me in your best clothes for two hours a week. That’s a date. I want a marriage with you.”

When Jesus died, he sent out an RSVP that simply said, “What I’ve done for you is I’ve paved the way for the forgiveness of sins.” If we choose to answer, God comes and changes us from the inside out. There’s no church or religion on the planet that can radically change your heart and mind. Only Jesus can do that, and it really starts when we say, “God, I don’t have the right words. I don’t know what to say. All I know is that I want that relationship with you. I want you to change me. I want you to be in charge because when I’m in charge, I mess this thing up.”

This is for those who have just accepted Christ or don’t know God quite yet. This is for those of you who have been serving Jesus for so long that you knew Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is the life Paul pointed to when he said, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2, ESV).

The more you grow in God, the more you realize that you don’t know about who he is. No matter where we are in our walk, we must strive toward a better knowledge and passion for the Lord.

We don’t need a dating relationship with God. We need a marriage.

After pastoring an inner-city congregation in Detroit for thirty years, Pastor Tim served at Brooklyn Tabernacle in NYC for five years and pastored in Lafayette, Louisiana, for five years. He became Senior Pastor of Times Square Church in May of 2020.

A Little Taste of Heaven

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

A foretaste is an advance taste or realization. The Bible calls it “the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:14, NKJV). It means to experience a taste of the whole before we have the whole. Our inheritance is Christ himself, and the Holy Spirit brings us into his very presence as a foretaste of being received as his bride, enjoying everlasting love and communion with him.

Paul describes a people of God who are “sealed with that Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13). This speaks of a people specially marked by a work of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit has produced in them a distinguishing mark, a glorious inner work, something supernatural that has changed them forever.

They are not ordinary anymore. They are no longer “of this world,” since they have set their affections on things above, not on the things of this earth. They are not moved by the world’s events; rather, they are unshakable. They are no longer lukewarm or halfhearted. Instead, their hearts cry out night and day, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus...”

What happened to them? What did the Holy Spirit do in these believers? What marked and sealed them forever as the Lord’s possession?

The Holy Ghost gave them a foretaste of the glory of his presence. He came to them and rolled back heaven, and they experienced a supernatural manifestation of his exceeding greatness. He gives us “a little heaven” to go to heaven with, a whetting of our appetite.

What kind of bride do you think the Spirit will present to Jesus Christ on that day of revelation? One who is halfhearted? Whose love is lukewarm or cold? Who is not devoted to Jesus? Who does not want intimacy with Christ?

If you truly love Jesus, he’s never out of your mind. He is present in your every waking moment. Some Christians think, “That will happen after I die. When I get to heaven, everything will change. I’ll become the special bride of the Lord then.” No, dying doesn’t sanctify anybody! This Holy Ghost is here today. He is alive and working in you to produce in you a passionate love for Christ on this side of death.

A Heart that God Values

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

We see in 1 Samuel 13 Saul facing a crucial moment that every believer must eventually confront: a time of crisis when we’re forced to decide whether we’ll wait on God by faith or get impatient and take matters into our own hands.

Saul’s pivotal moment came when ominous clouds of war were gathering over Israel. The Philistines had amassed a huge army of horsemen, iron chariots and legions of soldiers brandishing the latest weapons. By contrast, the Israelites had only two swords in their entire army, one for Saul and one for his son Jonathan. Everyone else had to use makeshift weapons such as wooden spears or crude farm tools.

A week earlier Samuel had warned Saul to wait for him before going into battle. The prophet had said he would arrive after seven days to make the proper sacrifices to the Lord. When the seventh day came and Samuel hadn’t arrived, Saul’s soldiers began to scatter. Worse, the king didn’t have God’s direction for battle.

What approach did Saul take?

Unfortunately, he allowed himself to be overwhelmed by his circumstances, and he ended up manipulating his way around God’s Word. He ordered the priest who was present to make the sacrifices without Samuel and committed a grievous sin against the Lord by doing so (see 1 Samuel 13:11–12).

God is never too late. He is still concerned with whether his people obey this command: “Obey the voice of the Lord, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord” (see 1 Samuel 12:13-15). Even if things look hopeless, we are not to act in fear. Rather, we are to wait patiently on him to deliver us as his Word promises.

Our God sees every detail of your crisis. He sees all the life-problems pressing in on you. And he’s fully aware your situation is getting worse daily. Those who pray and wait on him with calm faith are never in any real danger. Consider these words God has given to his church: “Without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6), and “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah(Psalm 62:8).

Unbelief is deadly, its consequences tragic. We face dire consequences if we try to extricate ourselves from our trials instead of trusting God to see us through them.

Strong, Spiritual Castor Oil

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

God’s command to love our enemies can seem like bitter, distasteful medicine. Like the castor oil I had to swallow in my youth, though, it is medicine that heals.

Jesus states very clearly, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43–44, NKJV).

Was Jesus contradicting the law here? Not at all. He was reversing the spirit of flesh that had entered the law. At that time, Jews loved only other Jews. A Jew wasn’t to shake hands with a Gentile or even allow his robe to swish against an outsider’s clothing. This wasn’t the spirit of the law. The law was holy, instructing, “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21–22).

We can hate the immoral actions of those in government. We can hate the sins of homosexuals, abortionists and all who despise Christ. But the Lord commands us to love them as people for whom Jesus died. He commands us to pray for them. If at any time, I despise a person rather than the principle behind that person, I’m not truly representing Christ.

I have witnessed a homosexual parade on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Two hundred fifty thousand gays, many half nude, some with signs proclaiming “God is Gay.” I saw them break rank and jump on Christians carrying signs, “God HATES Your Sin, but He Loves You.”

I blushed with hot anger. I felt like calling Sodom-like fire upon them. On reflection, though, I said to my heart, “I am like the disciples who wanted to call down fire to consume those who rejected Jesus.”

Homosexuality is sin. So is adultery. So is bitterness and unforgiveness.

Shall we love those “in your face” militant sinners? Pray for them? Bless them that curse you? That is exactly what Jesus said to do, so do it!